NHL Rumor Mill – October 9, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – October 9, 2021

What are the chances of the Ducks shopping John Gibson in the near future? Does Rangers goalie Alexandar Georgiev want a trade? What’s the latest on the Blackhawks and Canadiens? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE ATHLETIC: In his latest mailbag segment, Eric Stephens was asked about the chances of the Anaheim Ducks trading John Gibson in the near future. If this turns into another long season for the rebuilding Ducks (and it very well could be), Stephens suggested they investigate the goaltender’s value on the trade market.

Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson (NHL Images).

At one time, Stephens said he was certain Gibson would be with the Ducks to start the 2022-23 season. “I’m not nearly as sure now.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gibson, 28, is entering the third season of an eight-year contract with an annual average value of $6.4 million and a 10-team no-trade list. His somewhat lukewarm response to the possibility of a lengthy rebuild sparked the questions to Stephen about the netminder’s long-term future in Anaheim. The Ducks could explore trade options by next summer if Gibson becomes unhappy over the pace of the rebuild.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports Alexandar Georgiev hopes to put last season’s disappointing performance behind him. The 25-year-old Ranger goalie was the subject of offseason trade speculation but he denied rumors claiming he asked to be traded. “The rumors were false, I don’t know where they came from,” he said. Georgiev is expected to be Igor Shesterkin’s backup this season.

THE ATHLETIC: Scott Powers expects the Chicago Blackhawks will place forward Alex Nylander on waivers. He cites a league source saying he’s heard the Arizona Coyotes might put in a claim if Nylander hits the waiver wire.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Powers pointed out the Blackhawks’ lack of waiver-exempt players limits how they can get cap compliant to start the season. He suggested they could put sidelined Wyatt Kalynuk and Caleb Jones on offseason long-term injury reserve and then put Andrew Shaw on LTIR to tap into his cap space. Regardless of how they do it, Powers said he still believes Nylander will go on waivers.

SPORTSNET: Eric Engels recently speculated the Montreal Canadiens could turn to waivers or trade to bolster their injury-depleted blueline. With Shea Weber expected to miss the season and Joel Edmundson sidelined to start the season, an injury to Jeff Petry or Ben Chiarot could derail the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That report was filed before we learned goaltender Carey Price had entered the league’s player assistance program. His absence is the biggest factor that could derail the Canadiens’ season. Perhaps it will also provide further motivation for the Habs to go shopping for another defenseman.










NHL Rumor Mill – September 7, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – September 7, 2021

Did the Canadiens make a mistake acquiring Christian Dvorak? Should the Oilers attempt to acquire Ducks goalie John Gibson? Could the Senators trade Logan Brown? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.

SHOULD THE CANADIENS HAVE PURSUED EICHEL INSTEAD OF DVORAK?

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski believes the Montreal Canadiens made the wrong choice acquiring Christian Dvorak to replace Jesperi Kotkaniemi. He points out the 25-year-old center hasn’t cracked the 40-point barrier in his five NHL seasons, adding some believe he lacks the necessary work ethic.

Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel (NHL Images).

Kingerski feels the Canadiens should’ve instead attempted to acquire Jack Eichel from the Buffalo Sabres. That move would’ve cost them the better of their two first-round picks but would’ve established themselves with a premier center.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens were among the clubs to inquire about Eichel earlier in the offseason. However, Sabres GM Kevyn Adams’ asking price is said to be at least four assets comparable to first-round picks and he reportedly hasn’t come down from that.

The Canadiens weren’t in a solid position to acquire Eichel. It would’ve probably cost them both of their first-round picks next season, along with Nick Suzuki or Cole Caufield, one of their top prospects and possibly more. Factor in the difficulty of squeezing Eichel’s $10 million cap hit within their limited cap payroll and acquiring him was far too expensive for the Habs.

SHOULD THE OILERS TRY TO LAND GIBSON?

THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Daniel Nugent-Bowman was asked about the possibility of the Edmonton Oilers acquiring John Gibson from the Anaheim Ducks. He doubts that’s likely to happen, citing his annual salary-cap hit ($6.4 million through 2026-17) and 10-team no-trade list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stranger things have happened but I don’t see Gibson ending up with the Oilers. The Ducks have given no indication Gibson’s available and he hasn’t requested a trade. The Oilers might not be on his list of acceptable trade destinations and it would be difficult to squeeze his contract within their salary-cap payroll.

 










NHL Rumor Mill – August 26, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – August 26, 2021

Could the Ducks end up moving players like John Gibson and Josh Manson this season? Could the Senators seek another center? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE ATHLETIC: In his latest mailbag segment, Eric Stephens was asked about the speculation linking the Anaheim Ducks to Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel. He believes Ducks general manager Bob Murray had some level of talks with the Sabres but doubts he would part with Trevor Zegras or Jamie Drysdale as part of the return. The Sabres asking price of four top assets for an injured player is another obstacle. Waiting could drive that price down.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Eichel’s ongoing issues with the Sabres over treatment for a herniated disc in his neck and his hefty contract are also significant sticking points in any trade discussions. Murray would be wise not to part with Zegras or Drysdale if he’s planning to rebuild.

Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson (NHL Images).

Stephens believes Ducks goaltender John Gibson has been frustrated by the club’s lack of progress over the past three seasons. It’s impossible to know, however, if Gibson will request a trade.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gibson would draw plenty of interest in the trade market if he did ask to be moved or if Murray decided to shop him for a return of young assets. The 28-year-old’s contract could be a stumbling block. His annual average salary is $6.4 million through 2026-27 and he now has a 10-team no-trade list.

Stephens believes the Ducks have fielded offers for Rickard Rakell, Hampus Lindholm, Josh Manson, Kevin Shattenkirk and Adam Henrique or attempted to move some of them. A deal that would’ve sent Manson to the Winnipeg Jets was reportedly scuttled by Manson, who has a 12-team no-trade list. It’s believed teams were offering a first-round pick or a top prospect for Manson or Rakell, but the Ducks want both pieces.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Keep an eye on Manson, Lindholm and Rakell this season. They’re slated to become unrestricted free agents next summer. The trio could draw plenty of attention as the trade deadline approaches. Manson is the only one of the three with no-trade protection.

NHL.COM: Mike Zeisberger believes the Ottawa Senators still need some veteran depth at center for the coming season. The departures of Artem Anisimov and Derek Stepan leave the club thin at center. Promising Shane Pinto could help but he’d be another young center on the roster.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch recently reported the Senators are believed to be in the market for a top-six winger or another center in order to move another forward to the wing. He mentioned New York Rangers center Ryan Strome and Chicago Blackhawks forward Dylan Strome as possible trade targets but dismissed internet rumors linking the Sens to San Jose’s Tomas Hertl.










NHL Rumor Mill – June 3, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – June 3, 2021

The latest on Mitch Marner, Seth Jones, Sam Reinhart and more in today’s NHL rumor mill.

LEAFS GM SAID HE WON’T MOVE MARNER BUT SPECULATION PERSISTS

NHL.COM: Mike Zeisberger reports Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas said Mitch Marner won’t be part of any potential offseason roster changes. He defended Marner and Auston Matthews, adding that moving either of them would be foolish.

TORONTO SUN: Michael Traikos acknowledged Dubas’ comments but believes rival general managers will be calling about Marner. He thinks the Leafs should listen to offers, especially if they’re coming from Columbus Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen. Traikos wondered if they could swap out Marner for Jackets defenseman Seth Jones, or Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson, or Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel.

Toronto Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dubas seems adamant about not trading Marner or Matthews. It would have to be a significant deal to pry Marner away from the Leafs. Maybe he’s willing to listen if Jones or Gibson or Eichel were pitched to him for Marner, but we don’t know if those offers will be made.

HIGHLIGHTS FROM FRIEDMAN’S RECENT “31 THOUGHTS”

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman believes there will be plenty of interest in Jackets defenseman Seth Jones despite his unrestricted free agent eligibility next summer. He feels it could be a complex transaction. He thinks it could be “a trade and free agency at the same time” unless someone’s willing to offer up a major package for Jones as a playoff rental for this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As I said before, interested clubs could want assurances Jones will sign a contract extension before signing off on a trade. He’ll be of more value in the trade market that way. Perhaps a sign-and-trade scenario takes place. Maybe the Jackets grant permission for rival general managers to speak with Jones’ agent about a new deal.

Speaking of the Jackets, Friedman believes they spoke to the Buffalo Sabres about Sam Reinhart. The Sabres are looking for goaltenders and could have interest in Joonas Korpisalo or Elvis Merzlikins. He thinks these two clubs would make sensible trade partners.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Reinhart for Korpisalo or Merlikins could make sense for both clubs. As Friedman noted, however, there’s no guarantee that a deal takes place.

Friedman expects the Anaheim Ducks will try to make a big move this summer. They attempted to acquire Pierre-Luc Dubois from the Blue Jackets before he was traded in January to the Winnipeg Jets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The pursuit of Dubois suggests Ducks GM Bob Murray will be in the market for a center. Aging captain Ryan Getzlaf is a UFA this summer. If he returns it won’t be in a top-six role.

Sources indicate league revenue for this season could be between $1.8 billion and $2 billion. Factor in money owed to the league by the players and the salary cap could remain static for several seasons, perhaps to 2024-25.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Friedman suggests that could mean offer-sheet thresholds could be lower than ever. I still don’t hold my breath waiting for one given how rarely that tactic is employed.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 17, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 17, 2021

Recaps of Tuesday’s action include Alex Ovechkin reaching two milestones,  the Sabres fire coach Ralph Krueger, plus the latest on Evgeni Malkin, Taylor Hall, John Gibson and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Alex Ovechkin scored his 718th career goal and reached his 1,300th career points as his Washington Capitals earned a 3-1 victory over the New York Islanders, snapping the latter’s nine-game winning streak. Nicklas Backstrom also had a goal and an assist for the Capitals, who moved ahead of the Isles into first place (42 points) in the MassMutual East Division. Ovechkin moved past Phil Esposito into sixth place on the all-time goals list and 34th on the all-time points list with 1,301.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ovechkin is now 13 goals behind Marcel Dionne, who sits fifth overall.

The Boston Bruins rode a 34-save debut by rookie goaltender Dan Vlader to a 2-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Trent Frederic tallied the game-winner in the third period for the Bruins (34 points), who opened a three-point over the Philadelphia Flyers for fourth place in the East Division.

It was a rough game for both clubs, as Penguins center Evgeni Malkin (lower-body) and Bruins defenseman Jarred Tinordi (upper-body) left the game with injuries. Penguins forward Brandon Tanev was assessed a major penalty and game misconduct for boarding Tinordi. Earlier in the day, the Penguins placed defenseman John Marino (undisclosed) on injured reserve and announced forward Teddy Blueger was sidelined longer-term with an upper-body injury.

A third-period goal by Miles Wood lifted the New Jersey Devils over the Buffalo Sabres 3-2, handing the latter their 12th straight loss. It was the Devils’ first home victory since Jan. 24. Sabres winger Taylor Hall left the game in the first period after being knocked to the ice by P.K. Subban and struck in the face by a shot from teammate Colin Miller but returned in the second to complete the game. Earlier in the day, the Devils announced captain Nico Hischier would be sidelined approximately three weeks following surgery to repair a sinus fracture.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hall was fortunate to escape serious injury. This season is the nadir of what’s been a decade of suck for the Sabres. Ownership and management seem uncertain over what to do, head coach Ralph Krueger has no solutions while the players seem to be growing more dispirited with each loss.

**UPDATE**

The Buffalo Sabres this morning fired Ralph Krueger and assistant coach Steve Smith. Don Granato replaces Krueger on an interim basis while development coaches Matt Ellis and Dan Girardi become assistant coaches. 

The Colorado Avalanche scored six unanswered goals to overcome a 4-2 deficit and double up the Anaheim Ducks 8-4. Nazem Kadri scored twice and set up two others and Devon Toews collected three assists while Philipp Grubauer got the win after replacing Hunter Miska following the first period. With 36 points, the Avs opened a three-point lead over the St. Louis Blues for third place in the Honda West Division. Earlier in the day, the Ducks announced goaltender John Gibson is listed as day-to-day with a lower-body injury.

Minnesota Wild goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen made 31 saves to shut out the Arizona Coyotes 3-0 and extending his winning streak to nine games. Ryan Hartman, Mats Zuccarello and Jared Spurgeon were the goal scorers as the Wild (37 points) sit two behind the first-place Vegas Golden Knights in the West Division.

The Tampa Bay Lightning blew a 3-1 lead but edged the Dallas Stars 4-3 on a shootout goal by Brayden Point, who also had a goal and an assist in regulation. Third-period goals by Jamie Benn and Alexander Radulov forced overtime and the shootout. The win moved the Lightning (42 points) past the Florida Panthers into first place in the Discover Central Division.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Quite the battle going on between the Lightning, Panthers and Carolina Hurricanes for the top spot in the Central. The rivalry between the two Florida-based franchises is getting more entertaining with the Panthers’ improvement this season.

Speaking of the Hurricanes, their eight-game win streak came to an end as they fell 4-2 to the Detroit Red Wings. Adam Erne tallied twice while teammate Filip Hronek had a goal and two assists for the Wings. Jonathan Bernier kicked out 35 shots for the win. The Hurricanes (41 points) are one behind the Lightning and Panthers in the Central. Earlier in the day, the Wings announced forward Bobby Ryan is day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

IN OTHER NEWS…

THE SCORE: Former Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford admitted he attempted to reacquire goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury from the Vegas Golden Knights during the offseason. He said one of the reasons behind the decision to buy out defenseman Jack Johnson was to clear cap space for Fleury.

Rutherford also said he inquired into Fleury’s availability while the Golden Knights were still in the playoffs. The trade discussions were never deeply involved because of the salary-cap difficulties in acquiring Fleury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I doubt we’ll see Rutherford’s successor Ron Hextall pursuing Fleury. The cap issues remain but Hextall wants to take the club in a different direction by focusing on younger players.

Speaking of the Golden Knights, they’ve activated goalie Robin Lehner off injured reserve. He’d been sidelined since Feb. 7 with a lower-body injury.










NHL Rumor Mill – February 15, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – February 15, 2021

Could the Penguins pursue Ducks goalie John Gibson? Are the Flames any closer to trading Sam Bennett? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy reports an NHL source hinted John Gibson and his agent are concerned about the direction of the Anaheim Ducks. Gibson’s goaltending is the reason the Ducks are in playoff contention despite their weak offense.

Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson (NHL Images).

Another source wondered if the Pittsburgh Penguins might pursue Gibson. Brian Burke, the Penguins’ new president of hockey operations, still has connections with the Ducks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gibson has every reason to be concerned about the direction of the Ducks. He’s in the second season of an eight-year, $51.2 million contract. He could be reluctant to spend most of it backstopping a rebuilding club.

There’s no indication Gibson or his agent have approached Ducks general manager Bob Murray about a trade. We also don’t know if any teams are calling about Gibson’s availability but it wouldn’t surprise me if there have been some inquiries.

The Penguins have limited salary-cap space for this season and next. If they were to pursue Gibson they must shed around $6 million in cap space to make room for his annual average value.

And no, I don’t believe Murray would absorb part of Gibson’s cap hit to make a trade happen. For that matter, I don’t think he has any intention of trading his starter. Still, assuming he would make that move, he won’t want any more dead cap space than what he’s currently got with Corey Perry’s buyout counting against the books to the end of 2022-23.

THE LATEST ON BENNETT

CALGARY SUN: Daniel Austin observed how talk of the Flames trading forward Sam Bennett has cooled since they put him on a line with Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan. He also pointed out how recent injuries to Derek Ryan, Mikael Backlund and Elias Lindholm have depleted the Flames’ forward depth.

THE ATHLETIC: Eric Duhatschek recently examined Bennett’s situation, suggesting placing him with Gaudreau and Monahan was either to heal whatever rift exists or showcase him for a trade.

This summer’s expansion draft could also a concern. Duhatschek suggested it might be worthwhile for the Flames to explore getting a valuable asset like a draft pick or a draft-exempt prospect for Bennett rather than risk losing him for nothing to the Seattle Kraken.

The Toronto Maple Leafs would be a good fit if it weren’t for their limited salary-cap space. Other options could be rebuilding clubs such as the Detroit Red Wings, Los Angeles Kings and Ottawa Senators.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bennett hasn’t kicked up a fuss about being moved so it seems Flames GM Brad Treliving has decided to ignore his agent’s trade request. Then again, putting him alongside Gaudreau and Monahan could’ve been the motive all along by the Bennett camp. Perhaps Treliving shopped around but hasn’t yet found a suitable offer. Maybe he’s decided to wait until this summer because he needs Bennett for the playoffs.

Whatever the reason, Bennett no longer seems the trade certainty he was earlier this month. That could change with one phone call but that might not be coming anytime soon.